Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott # 27: Land of the Deadski

Previously, at the urging of Haggismarshe’s butler, Benjamin Patrick Nutt, the ghostest with the moistest, leaves the Manor House. He rides his horse to the Realm of the Dead to find out if Lady P. P. is indeed deceased. In other words, will she be around for more adventures?

Before B.P., thousands of spirits lined up for their assignment in the Great Hall of Mother Death, a parade of souls hoping for the best. Some returned to the world of humans and houses to haunt. Some would be flung out into outer darkness for the gnashing of teeth that was their reward. Some would get a rerun as another earthly being, maybe a human being, maybe an animal. Some went on to the Light and the Beyond. Above each spirit was a sign acknowledging where they died. The spirits moved forward.

B.P. began his inquiries with a howdy here, a howdy there. He stopped and conversed with each group of ghosts. “We’re from Transylvania. Vampired. Bite didn’t take, damn it,” one group said. “I was bit by a werewolf. I bit him back,” one spirit said. “A lion had me for lunch.” “Fox hunting, the fox spooked my horse.” “Boat sank.” “Bird shat on me.”

“Died in my bed,” one whispered, hoping only B.P. would hear.

“Lucky bastard,” a number of the others did a synchronized shout.

One spirit from the dark jungles of Africa relayed the following story: “I was with this woman in a cave. The sexiest damned woman I ever encountered. Name of Mata Hari. I gave her the bag of diamonds she came for, took her in my arms, kissed her hard on the lips, saw this flash at the entrance, pulled my gun and shot her partner. Not once, but twice. Her partner, a fellow called Kaptain Kroger Kruger, dropped dead.

“Then I felt this pain in my gut. She pulled the knife out of me, then she drove it like a stake into my heart. Always knew how much she loved to stick it to people but I didn’t think it would happen to me. After all, when you have the charm of a Johnny Eager, women just can’t resist. Damn, can you pull this thing out of me?”

B.P. grabbed the hilt. He had been through this before. It took super-human strength to get the ten arrows out of him. He pulled. He pulled. He pulled and felt the knife move ever so slightly. He jerked hard. The knife came out, and whish. It disappeared.

“Thanks, man,” the man with the tale said. “By the way, my name is Johnny Eager. In your travels, you haven’t seen my Norwegian sidekick, Karl Lutefisk, have you?”

“Can’t say that I have? When did he die?”

“Weeks before I bit the dust,” Johnny Eager said.

“Then he won’t be here. These are the ones that died the day you did. He has passed on to his assignment.”

“Darn, I was hoping to see him one last time. Would have meant a lot to me. By the way, why aren’t you in line in this parade of parades? Since it’s a parade, I was wondering when we would get uniforms. Always did like uniforms.”

“No uniforms,” B.P. said. “I have already received my assignment. Been there one hundred and fifty years already.”

“Then why would you come to this place again? It’s kind of spooky, don’t you think? Oh no, what is this stuff?” Johnny looked down at his gut. Green gook was pouring out. “Man, how do I stop these runs?”

“Grab the ether on either side of the wound and pull it together. You have to hold it that way for quite some time for it to heal. Unless you go on to the light and then beyond. Then it’s poof and you’re healed. I came back here on an urgent errand. My mistress has disappeared. I am here to find out whether she survived a shipwreck or died. Oh, there it is. Up front. The shipwreckees are next to reach the Assignment Desk. Got to go.”

Johnny Eager pinched his gut together and stopped the green gook. B. P. hurried to the sign written in flashing neon, “S. S. Twit.”

“Next,” the spook at the Assignment Desk called out to the Twit group.

The first to move forward on the conveyer belt was the captain of the steamship, Captain Pedro San Cristobel. A hook grabbed him and flung him into the outer darkness. Suddenly he was falling.

“You abandoned ship,” Assignment Guy said and stamped his papers.

One by one, each of the passengers and crew were pulled forward. One by one, each was sent on his or her assignment. The belt drew Wongway Wongway to the Assignment Desk. A. G. looked up from his Book of Assignments and at the ship’s pilot with a quizzical look on his spooky face.

“What are we to do with you, Wongway Wongway?” A. G.asked. “What are we to do with you? It has been an eternity since I have seen someone like you. Your whole life you couldn’t do anything right. Your karma kept messing up your karma with one thing after another.

“Then it wasn’t my fault,” W. W. said.

“Your spirit has always been like this. You escape prosecution because it really isn’t your fault. You keep going back. Then you’re back here at this desk. One hundred, two hundred, three hundred times your spirit has been through this. If I send you back, it won’t matter. You’ll screw things up again. If I send you on to the light and then beyond, you will force the light to go out. We haven’t had one of you in a long stack of forevers. We can’t afford it. If we send you back for a haunting, nope. I can’t take that chance. You’ll disturb all those there already. What are we going to do? Step aside. We’re going to have to give this one some thought. Once the once-over is over, we’ll know what to do.”

Smythie Smathers, Crepe Suzette, Sgt Mack Truck, Studdley Duddley, Pipsqueak Pimplesquat, all pulled forward for their due. Each sent on their way to do the cosmos’ business. The sign “S. S. Twit” disappeared into the abyss and finally B. P. reached the Assignment Desk.

“Was there a Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed-Prissypott on the manifest?” he asked A. G.

“You know I can’t reveal that, Young Man,” A. G. answered, staring at his next group’s manifest. “It’s strictly against regulations. We cannot break the Second Amendment of the Fourth Addendum.”

B.P. gave him a questioning look.

“You know, the Privacy Addendum. Now out of the way. Next.”

B.P. looked sad, very sad. His head hung in resignation. What was he going to tell his fellows? They would be howling, running amuck for centuries, driving all human occupation away from Haggismarshe Manor House. Eventually the house would be cursed by the Higher Ghostess With the Mostest. Into outer limbo, they would go. To howl, scream and run amuck forever. Oh, the pain. If a ghost could have shed tears, B.P. would have shed tears.

“Can I help you?” a short man with Chinese features called. Yet they weren’t Chinese. They were Oriental, yet not Oriental.

“I am afraid not,” B.P. said. He turned toward the conveyer.

“I think I can help you,” the short man with the ambiguous features said.

“How?” B.P. looked at the short man afraid to hope.

“You are looking for someone that was on the S. S. Twit?”

“I am.”

“I was on the S. S. Twit,” Wongway Wongway said. “It was my fault the ship sank. I was the ship’s pilot. Who are you looking for?”

“No. You can’t be the ship’s pilot.”

“I certainly was. Who are you looking for? I met everyone in the group.”

B.P. stood beside the conveyer belt, its passenger sliding behind him. There was hope, lots of hope in his ghostly slots that used to be eyes. He couldn’t believe what would have been his ears if he had ears. He didn’t, of  course. Ghosts don’t have ears. “She is Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott of Haggismarshe. She may also be known as Viscountess dat Renalla-Macedoni, Marye Caterina Olgastoya. Everybody calls her ladyship Lady P.P. She also has the nick of Double M and her maiden name is Mary-Mary Smith. Have you seen her? Did she go down with the ship?”

“Hmmmm,” the spirit Wongway Wongway thought, then said, “The name is familiar. But no, she did not go down with the rest of us. She was not with the group that went down with the S. S. Twit. Somehow she escaped. She was only one of two out of one hundred and fifty souls. The other, the internationally famous Tootles “The Tootler” Tootle Lou. Somehow she sang her way out of that disaster.”

A. G. looked over at Wongway Wongway. He curled his finger and beckoned the pilot over to him.

“We are sending you into the Light and Beyond.” A. G. smiled, his faith in the System restored. The System had never failed him before, and it had not this time. “Your help for our ghost friend there, that reveals that you have a compassionate heart. It seems that the cosmos has done you an injustice by saddling you with your ill fortune. Whatever your past, you are ready for the Light and the Beyond.”

Wongway stepped through the door, into the light, and was gone, none of his soul lingering behind. The Cosmos had decided to test him and he had passed that test. Wongway Wongway was on the other side of the Beyond and Beyond.

Assignment Guy pointed his finger at the ghost from Haggismarshe Manor. “Now go.”

B.P. fell through the floor of the Assignment Room and into the saddle on Paul Revere’s back. The horse’s feet touched down onto the plank. He walked between the raindrops. B.P. showed his pass before the invisible wall. It divided. On the other side, the ghosts and the servants waited for him. They saw the big smile on his apparition, and they knew. It was the happiest news. Lady Marye Caterina Wimpleseed Prissypott of Haggismarshe was alive, perhaps alone and injured somewhere, but alive. Yes, she was alive.

Next Week, Barcelona or Bust.

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 26: The dead just won’t stay dead

Previously Johnny Eager led Mata Hari to the diamonds.

The three ghosts, Benjamin Patrick, Earl Grey, Sir Long John Longjohn, stalked the halls of Haggismarshe Manor House for days. They screeched out their howls, filling every corner of the house. They missed her ladyship, and they missed her bad.

“I miss her bosoms,” B. P. would cry when he came upon one of the servants.

“I miss her gentle voice,” Early Grey cried when he ran into anyone.

“I miss her kindness and optimism,” Sir Longjohns cried out when someone opened the closet door where he was hiding.

The noise was driving the servants out of their minds. Any employment was better than this ruckus.

“You’ve got to bring an end to this,” the housekeeper and the cook said to the butler in unison. “We are running out of aspirin.”

“Yes, I know,” the butler said. He sat in a chair in the kitchen with his head between his legs. “I have a migraine, and you’re not helping.”

“But—,” the housekeeper said and was interrupted.

“I plan to do something,” Butler said, lifting his head up momentarily. “I have a meeting scheduled with our three ghost friends tonight at midnight.”

“There had better be changes,” Cook said, “or I am leaving. I have been offered employment elsewhere and I will take it if this does not stop.”

At midnight, not a minute before, not a minute after, precisely midnight, Butler opened the Manor House Drawing Room door. He walked over to the bookshelf and pulled it open to reveal a passageway and stairs leading downward. Down, down, down he went until he came into a dark chamber deep in the bowels of the earth. Floating toward him across the large room at the bottom of the stairs was B. P. Floating under the ghost’s whisper of a body was Early Grey and Sir Long John Longjohn. The room was chilly, chilled to ghost comfort level. All three were sleeping the sleep of the dead, snoring, B. P. bu-bu-bupped every so often.

“All right, Ghosts,” Butler said. “Up!”

“Wha-wha-what?” the three ghosts said, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, their ghostly bodies floating to attention.

“I thought,” Butler said, “we were to have a meeting. I am here. The three of you are sleeping.”

B. P. rubbed the sleep from his eyes, floated over to Butler and said, “Butler, we’re exhausted. All this howling and screeching is affecting our health. Pretty soon we’re going to have boo-boo flu if we keep this up, and Early is about to come down with banchee-itis. You know how afflicting that can be.”

Butler grimaced his frustration. “Why don’t you quit all the rigamarole and settle down then?”

“We can’t,” B. P. said. “It’s in our contract. The master and the mistress disappear. We have to raise a ruckus.”

“But you didn’t do that when the master, Lord Dunnie, died.”

“That was different, y’all,” B.P.  said. “We didn’t like him. He was an old fuddly duddly always fuddly duddlying around, disturbing us wherever we hid. And we know some good places to hide. Her ladyship was kind, respecting our dignity and our hiding places. Besides she had such wonderful bosoms.”

“But he was the master,” Butler protested, exasperated at the audacity of the ghosts to ignore the former master of the manor.

“We took a vote and we opted out. Even Sir Long John Longjohn voted that we not disturb the manor house when her ladyship was here. It would be downright rude. A regular Emily Post infraction.”

“Well, all this noise has got to stop,” Butler said. “We can’t go on like this. It is helping neither you ghosts nor we servants. What can we do about it?”

B.P.  turned and huddled over in a corner with his fellow ghosts. Butler heard low mumbles and whispers. The three went into the let-mes and soon progressed to the I-wannas.

“I want to go,” Early said, stiff-upper-lipping a whine at the end of the sentence.

“No, let me,” Long John pleaded.

“It’s going to be me,” B.P. interjected.

“But you get to have all the fun,” his two companions said.

“I’m the one with the horse,” B.P. closed the argument, “Paul Revere is not going to let either of you on his back.” Paul Revere was the name of B P’s horse. “Besides I am American. Americans get to have all the fun. It’s written into our DNA. So it’s me.”

“Alas,” Earl said to Long John, “’tis true. The journey does require a horse. Otherwise it would take over a century to make the trip.”

“By the time you got back,” B. P. pointed out, “her ladyship definitely would be passed. Then what would be the point of going in the first place.”

“Oh,” Long John let out a long sigh. “But I get to be the one the next time.”

“If there is a next time,” Earl said.

“There is always a next time,” Long John said, then smiled.

Finally the huddle ended. B.P.  floated over to Butler. “We think we have a solution. We’ve decided one of us must go to the World Beyond and visit. Find out if she really has passed over.”

“She has died,” Butler protested. “She drowned. All the papers said so.”

“When a master or mistress passes over into our world, we receive a message from the Grand Ghost Council. None has come informing us of her demise. “

“I thought you received,” Butler said, “a note from Giles, The Times ghost.”

“He only communicated what he read in the papers. This has been what upset us so much. A lack of finality.

“Whatever it takes, get to it,” Butler said. He left the room and climbed the long winding stairs to the above world.

So it was decided. B.P. was the one to walk the plank over into that shadowy shadow world between mortality and the beyond. First he needed a pass and that was never easy to get. He met with the Ghost Riders of the Sky. They hovered above Haggismarshe Manor House and considered the circumstances. After a long deliberation of minutes, they agreed. B.P. was given permission to leave Haggismarshe Manor House.

It was midnight as it always is when a ghost leaves the house he or she is assigned to haunt. B.P. gave his buddies a “‘see ya, fellows.” He stepped into the stirrups, then crawled up onto the saddle of his ghost horse, Paul Revere. Then he yelled, “Two if by land, one if by sea.”

“Why the heck did I say that?” he wondered. “Why didn’t I say hi-yo Silver and away instead.”

The horse took off, making for the invisible wall, that wall that is a prison holding the ghosts inside and the world outside. At the wall, Paul Revere slowed his gait to a stop. Showing his pass to the wall, it divided, allowing the two to ease out into the rain. It always rains when ghosts leave their assigned posts. This night was no different.

Over land and over sea the horse galloped, his master firmly settled into the saddle on his back. B.P. was thoroughly enjoying the ride, the wind rushing through his ghostly sheet of a body, tickling him. It had been so long since he had a ride like this, not since the British had chased him halfway across the state of Georgia.

He passed through the Valley of the Shadow. He crossed the Mountain of Doom, then waded through the River of Finality. When he came to the River Styx, he stopped. He guided Paul Revere carefully onto the plank that crossed the River. The white stallion made his way along the very narrow crossing, tippy-toeing ever so delicately as if his life depended upon it, though he was indeed dead like the rider upon his back.

One false step either way and horse and rider would be condemned to the dark world of darkness and denial below. If they fell, they would fall and fall and keep falling forever, never landing, always falling deeper and deeper into the bowels of darkness until the darkness faded into a nothingness. Paul Revere stepped between the raindrops and off the wooden board into that shadowy shadow of a world between mortality and the beyond.

The two stopped and B.P. got off his horse. He handed Paul Revere’s reins to a short fellow standing nearby. “Here, O’Toole,” he said to the guard at the Gates of the Passed-On.

“State your business,” O’Toole said grumpily, squinting with his one good eye. “And this had better be good.”

“The Ghost Riders of the Sky gave me a Pass.” He showed the guard a shining piece of parchment.

“Then pass on through,” the guard said. “I will care for your stallion.” O’Toole and Paul Revere faded away into the Nether to wait.

Next Week: Benjamin Patrick Nutt continues his adventures in the land of the dead.

A Cozy Murder

Detective Retired John Johns came to Halcyon Days Township to live his life in peace and quiet. He had had it up to his eyeballs with his days on the Big City Police Force. If it wasn’t one murder, it was another. After putting in his twenty, he decided enough was enough. He turned in his badge, took his pension and headed out to the tranquil pastures of Halcyon Days.

Halcyon Days was a small village. The folks were about as folksy as folksy could be. Never resisting a tip of the hat and a howdy if they met you on the street. And the neighbors cared enough to bring you chicken soup if you were sick

John Johns moved into a two bedroom bungalow and went to work on his hobby, crossword puzzles. Back in the Big C, it seemed he never had a chance to finish a puzzle before a murder dropped into his lap. The first thing he did when he moved into his dream house with the white picket fence was to log onto Amazon and order a hundred or so puzzle books. That should keep him for a while, then he went outside and planted some roses in the front yard.

He had just come back from the Sunday morning services at the little white Church. It wasn’t that he was religious. It was just the place to catch up on the local news. If the sermon was about adultery, he was darned sure there was someone caught in an adulterous affair.

There were seldom any sermons about adultery. The last one remembered was just before the preacher was caught with the church secretary. Shortly after that, both ran off and left their spouses behind. But everything turned out a-okay as it always seemed to in Halcyon Days. The spouses suddenly realized they were in love with each other. If the sermon had been on loving your neighbor, it would have really set the folks’ ears a twinkle.

John Johns was in the middle of boiling a kettle of water for a cup of Rose Petal Tea. Then the phone rang. It wasn’t an ordinary ring. It was the kind of ring that said to Johns there was going to be trouble on the other end. He hesitated but, after the seventh ring, he finally picked it up.

“Is this Detective Retired John Johns?” the phone wanted to know.

“Yes,” Johns answered.

“This is Sheriff Bobby Beaufort. I need your help. There’s been a murder.”

“I can’t help. I’m retired.”

“Seems that there was a sleepover at the Old Fletcher Manor. Six folks stayed last night. One of them folks, Sir George Ruckus, didn’t show up for blueberry pancakes. When he didn’t join the others for bridge, they all figured something was wrong. Sir George never in his life missed a game of bridge.” (Now you know this is a cozy mystery. They always play bridge in these kind of stories.)

“So why are you calling me?”

“I’ve got my hands full with helping the LLBS. That’s Ladies Local Bake Sale for the new comers. They always like a uniform around. Otherwise they won’t think it’s official.”

“Can’t you send a deputy.”

“Don’t have no deputies. There’s never any crime to have a need. So as you can see I’m in a pickle what with the LLBS and all. And the mayor is having a hissy. When the mayor has a hissy, it’s not pleasant. He hasn’t had one in a while so he’s saved up.”

John Johns looked at his cup of tea and really didn’t want to give it up for some wild goose chase. But he had always taken the side of prudence. He said yes and hung up.

Fifteen minutes later he was in his red Ford heading out State Road 1001. He was in his official detective get-up of white shoes, white suit, white shirt, red tie and white hat. It took him six minutes and thirty-seven and a half seconds to get to the Old Fletcher Manor Gate. He made his turn off the state road and drove through the gate toward the mansion on the hill. It took him another twenty-seven minutes and fifteen seconds to drive the curves up that hill to the three-story antebellum white mansion.

The Butler answered the doorbell.

“I’m Detective Retired John Johns and I am here to make inquiries.”

“Inquiries, Sir?”

“Yes. I understand someone got snockered.”

“Snockered, Sir?”

“You know, kaputski.”

“Kaputski, Sir?

“Somebody’s with the fishes.”

“There are no fishes here, Sir.”

“You know. Snuffed, scragged, whacked, annihilated.”

“Oh, you mean decimated?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

“Follow me.” Butler turned and led John Johns into the Drawing Room.

As he followed, John Johns thought he knew who did the deed. The Butler Do-ed It. It’s always the Butler in these kinds of affairs. To be on the safe side, he kept his suspicions to himself.

As he walked into the Drawing Room, a fly crossed his path. He swished it away. The fly flew over to the blonde in the corner. She didn’t move a muscle. The fly left her and completely ignored the gentleman standing beside her. He had a mustache.

“Madame,” Butler said. “A Detective John Johns.”

The woman with the red wig and powdered nose rose from her chair and greeted the detective. “Thank God. A professional. Not that amateur of a sheriff who’s been playing party pops with the school marm. I am Pamela Wigsley.” (She’s called Wigsley so the reader will remember she’s the one in the wig.)

“I hear you have a murder on your hands.”

“Yes, we have a murder on our hands.”

“Here, Willy.” He handed his hat to Butler. “Treat it with care. It was my great granddad’s.” (Remember the Chekhov rule. If a white hat shows up in a scene, it must be used by the end of the story. So watch for the white hat. It may be important.)

“Yes sir. But I am not Willy. I am Butler.”

“Sure you are.”

With white hat in hand, Butler buttled his way out of the Drawing Room.

John Johns took charge. “Where’s the corpus delecti?”

“In the Library.”

John Johns said, “Of course. It always has to be the Library. Where else would a murder occur? Where’s the Library?”

“Through that door.”

“Through that door?” The detective pointed to the door Madame Wigsley mentioned.

“Yes.”

John Johns went to the door, opened it and walked into the Library. Several seconds later, he came back into the Drawing Room. “There’s been a murder in there. Somebody tea-and-crumpeted his tea-and crumpets.”

“Yes,” Wigsley said. “And it has to be someone in this room who did it.”

“Not the Butler?”

“Of course not. If Butler the Butler was a murderer, I would not have him on my staff.”

“And who found the body?”

“The maid, Daisy Maid Bluebell.”

John Johns went to the Drawing Room door and called for Daisy Maid Bluebell, the maid. “Could you bring me a cup of Rose Petal Tea please?”

Pushing away the tear in her eye, she said, “Yes, Sir.”

Why was there a tear in her eye? he asked himself. Well, it was obvious no one would accuse her of the murder. After all, she found the body. No, there had to be another reason.

Johns scanned the room, taking in each of the six while he awaited his tea.

As they waited for Johns’ tea to come, none of the six spoke. They were very quiet and they were nervous.

Finally the maid returned with the tea and handed the cup and saucer to Johns. She started to leave. “Please stay,” the detective requested Daisy Maid.

“Yes, Sir,” she said, then took her place beside Mustache.

Johns took a sip of his tea, smiled, then complimented the maid on her perfect cup of tea. He sat the cup and saucer on the table and perused the room. A slight smile crossed his face. It was one of his gotcha smiles.

“Well, well, well,” he said to the group. “Let’s see. Wigsley, it’s obvious you did not do the crime. If you had, then you would have gone to the trouble of straightening your wig.”

Wigsley said, “Oh, it’s crooked.” She straightened her wig.

“Yes,” Johns said. “If you had murdered our friend Sir, you would have wanted to make sure you looked perfect. So no one would suspect you.” Then he turned to Fashion Sense, a man in absolutely the nattiest of all the natty outfits you might ever see. “It’s definitely not you. You’re too much a coward.”

“A coward?” Fashion Sense did not raise his voice. He was too much of a coward to do so. “How can you accuse me of such a thing?”

“Anyone with your fashion sense would be way to afraid to get blood on his natty nats, wouldn’t one?”

Next came the Brunette. “I know you didn’t kill him or anyone else.”

“How do you know?”

“If you had done the deed, I wouldn’t be able to ask you out. Are you free for dinner next Saturday evening?”

“Of course,” the Brunette said and smiled. “Finally, I have a date,” she thought. “It’s been years and I don’t have a thing to wear. Now I definitely have a good reason to go shopping.”

Johns moved on to Regina Queensberry. “It could have been you. But no. You and Hector here would have too much to lose. You still have to announce your engagement. So, you would wait till after the Season is over before committing the crime of the century. So that leaves Blondie here.”

The tension had been killing Mustache. He couldn’t stand it any longer. So he confronted Johns. “What about me?”

“No, I don’t think it was you. Of all the cases I have investigated, never has a man with a mustache–or a woman, for that matter–committed murder. Grand larceny, yes. Fraud, yes. Bank robbery, yes. But not murder.”

“You’re wrong,” Mustache said adamantly. “Very wrong. I could have done it too.”

“No. You don’t have a motive.”

“I do too. Sir George was sleeping with Daisy Maid Bluebell, then he was going to throw her over for Blondie when he got the chance. It was just a matter of time. I couldn’t stand seeing my Daisy Maid hurt like that.”

Daisy Maid turned to Mustache and hugged him. She was crying. “I didn’t know. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I thought you would just laugh,” Mustache said. He was crying now.

“I would never laugh at you, My Darling. The only reason I went off with Sir George was because you didn’t ask me out.”

Johns stepped forward, removed Daisy Maid from his arms and cuffed Mustache with his handcuffs. He retrieved his white hat from Willy. (Sorry to mislead you readers about the white hat. That’s called a red herring. Makes the reader think that somehow that white hat had something to do with the crime.)

With Mustache cuffed to the backseat, Johns drove straight to the jail. As he drove, he hummed, “Another one bites the dust.”

So there you have it. No blood. In fact, we don’t even see The Victim. For all practical purposes, Sir George was the McGuffin of the piece. Just the reason for John Johns to show off his stuff.

 

 

Lady Wimpleseed-Prissypott 24: Haggismarshe is upset

Previously the Prime Minister and his Cabinet met to discuss the state of the world, and it wasn’t up to snuff.

The three Ghosts of Haggismarshe gathered in the manor house’s music room. For the second time, Haggishmarshe’s ghostest with the moistest, Benjamin Patrick Nutt, read the note from Giles, the limping ghost butler of The Times. He couldn’t believe it. He just couldn’t believe it.

He passed the note over to Earl Grey. Early read it out loud, “I am sorry to inform you. Your mistress, the Lady Marye CaterinaWimpleseed Prissypott of Haggismarshe has drowned. ”

“It can’t be true,” Sir Long John Longjohn Prissypott said. “We would have heard. The Ghost Directory always sends out a communiqué.”

“It must be,” Early said. Tears rolled down his face. “Giles is never wrong on these things. After all, it is The Times giving us the news.”

First Lords. Now this. It was more than the ghosts could bear. They let out a howl of grief that ran through Haggismarshe Manor House. Every servant in the manor ran to the closets and hid, shivering in their shoes. The ghosts were not happy. A truce had reigned for years between ghosts and human. The truce was over. There would be nothing but terror in the manor for the foreseeable future.

Next Week Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

The Uglies

Let’s face it. We all have a bit of the Uglies in us. When I say Uglies, I mean Ug-a-lug-lies.

From time to time, those Uglies have to burst loose. There’s no two ways about it. Oh, sure. Later we’ll do a Flip Wilson and say, “The devil made me do it.” That’s ‘cause we’re embarrassed we let our dumbass show.

When we see others do the Uglies, we don’t let them off the hook that easy. We want them to get their just desserts. Either that or some of that instant karma John Lennon sang about.

This goes even more so for fairy tales. We want the Wicked Witch of the West to melt. We want the mirror to shatter on the Wicked Queen. She wanted Mr. Mirror to give her the fake news that she was the fairest in the land. We want He-who-must-not-be-named to have his name stamped on his rear-end. And not just stamped. Branded. Ouch! That’s got to hurt.

Nowhere along the way do we consider that they may not be villains and that they might have a bad case of the Uglies themselves. If we give them a chance, those Uglies might wear off and these folks might turn out to be decent human beings. Who is to say that Harry Potter didn’t have a very good press agent. Once Voldemort was branded with that He-who-must-not-named label, there was no getting off scot free for him.

It may be that Humpty Dumpty woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Or that the king had the Uglies and pushed Humpty off the wall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put the Dump back into Humpty Dumpty. At least, that’s what the king told the press. And we know the reason the Chicken crossed the road. She was run out of Dodge with her own set of Uglies.

Consider the Cinderella story. We want Cinderella’s wicked step mom to lose. And not just loose, but loose big time. After all, her daughters are real works of art. They’re haughty and persnickety. In fact, that’s their names, Haughty and Persnickety. And Step Mom is not interested in love. She’s only interested in the cash. Bet you’d kick the romantic out of your head if you were as poor as a dormouse and had four mouths to feed.

Let’s just consider Step Mom’s side of things. She marries a guy because he’s got a steady job. Her first husband ran off with the Spoon. He left her with two daughters who were always crying, “Feed me.” She met Cyndi’s dad at the local Parents Without Partners. They hit it off. Before you can say Abracadabra, they did a Vegas and wallah! Problem solved. Then Dad had to go and get himself hit by a truck. Of course, he didn’t have any life insurance. The only income Step Mom had coming in was the alimony payments from her first husband.

Since the girls were about to turn eighteen, Step Mom had to find a new source of income. She got herself a real estate agent certification and started flipping houses. Six months later, the floor fell out of the housing market. About that time, both of her daughters needed glasses.

On top of everything else, Cyndi was a handful with her “just wait till I tell my uncle” attitude. What was a mother to do? This was reason enough for Step Mom to let her Uglies burst lose. There was a ball and she was darned sure that one of her daughters was going to hook up with the prince. Come hell or highwater. And under no condition was she going to allow Cyndi to take their shine away.

For every nickel with a heads, there’s a tails to be considered. After all, it was a rich man who said, “Money can’t buy happiness.” The same fellow who said, “In God we trust. All others pay cash.”

If it quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, it still may not be a duck. It may be an actor who takes his role as a duck seriously. What else can you expect from a method actor? You never know what a person is going through when they are acting out their Uglies.

And, for God’s sake, do not, under any condition, allow your Uglies to burst through the dam. Best thing is to get ready to duck. That guy, who passed you three seconds ago, may have stolen a leprechaun’s pot of gold. The lep is trying to run him down. If you chase him, you may regret it. He could burst your windshield or run you down.

Either that or he has a gub. “A gub?” you ask. “What’s a gub?” That is a whole ‘nother story.